Astros: Interest in Tampa’s Starting Pitchers?

The heavy lifting for the Astros this offseason appears to be over before the Winter Meetings even began.

`One of the most active teams this offseason, the Astros have addressed a bevy of needs. But one perceived need has yet to be resolved: a top of the line starting pitcher.

But that could be changing soon if certain rumors come to fruition.

Per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports, Houston could be one of the teams to target Tampa Bay Rays starter, Chris Archer, during the offseason.

Bringing Archer on board in Houston would be a huge acquisition for the franchise. Even though the 28-year old had an uncharacteristic 2016 season, he is still one of the most promising starters in baseball. And he is a heck of a bargain as he under contract through 2019. There are also two team options following that season. The highest annual salary that Archer could make is $11 million in 2021. In his age-32 season. Yes, that is a steal of a contract.

Sure, the naysayers will say that he went 9-19 last season though. Of course, the win-loss record for pitchers is not particularly useful. And without the proper context, it could be rather unwise to use that as a crutch for an argument against the Astros being interested in Archer.

But Archer was showing signs of a turnaround last season after his disappointing start. In fact, his second half was far more in line what we expect from a pitcher of Archer’s caliber.

Statistics from first half of 2016 season: .256/.330/.437, 2.71 SO/W, .323 BABIP, 4.66 ERA
Statistics from second half of 2016 season: .215/.260/.360, 5.42 SO/W, .271 BABIP, 3.25 ERA

You also have to consider the possibility of the Astros pulling off a smaller deal for one of the following Tampa starers: Drew Smyly or Jake Odorizzi.

While Smyly and Ordorizzi are the sexy pickups like an Archer or Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox, both are solid mid-rotation arms. And the Astros probably wouldn’t have to part ways with Alex Bregman for one of them. The same can’t be said for a deal involving Archer or Sale.

As it stands now, the Astros rotation has flaws and question marks. We can can all testify to that from last season. But we also know what kind of rotation they can be when healthy and effective.

Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Collin McHugh, Charlie Morton, Mike Fiers, and Joseph Musgrove all are part of the rotation equation. All have proven to be or can be fine pitchers for Houston. Adding another starter though cannot hurt. After all, you can never have enough pitching.

**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**

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